One day a decade or so ago, I was in the gym on the top floor of the late, lamented Sands Regency. I was back in Reno visiting family and friends, and the now-hubby and I were staying at the Sands, as we always did, thanks to the great location and low room rates.
(Yes, Jacobs Entertainment has done beautiful things with the casino formerly known as the Sands. But I, always and forever, will miss the divey yet comfortable Sands.)
I remember looking out at the city below me—and being in awe of the sea of green, lush trees, with buildings poking out here and there. (If you’ve never looked down on central Reno from a tall building, do so. It’s beautiful.) It was at that moment I started to realize how special Reno truly was—and is.
I left Reno in late 2001. I wasn’t happy about it, but if I’d wanted to stay in journalism, I had no choice, because there were no journalism jobs for me here anymore. I was lucky enough to grab a gig at Las Vegas CityLife (R.I.P), as I unknowingly started a life journey that would later take me to Tucson, Ariz., and then Palm Springs, Calif.
I loved Reno, but I can’t say I had a particularly high opinion of it. Sure, Tahoe is amazing, and I could never get enough Awful Awfuls at the little Nugget (R.I.P.), among other plusses, but Reno was … well, Reno. It was the sometimes backward, unremarkable place where I just so happened to be born.
But ever since that moment at the Sands (R.I.P.), I’ve started to look at Reno in a new way—and in the time since I returned here part-time nearly two years ago to come back to the RN&R, I’ve come to realize how fantastic metro Reno really is.
Don’t believe me? Just flip through this issue of the RN&R. Let’s start on Page 3, and Streetalk, for which Dave Robert talked to people at a surprisingly cool place called Reno Public Market—although I will always call it Shoppers Square, just because. On Page 8, Frank X. Mullen beautifully writes about the Fleishmann Planetarium, a truly special place that’s turning 60; I remember being completely in awe of it as a kid. On Page 13, Maggie Nichols—who always manages to write about truly stunning places around these parts—sets her sites on fantastic ways and places to enjoy the outdoors while staying in town. On Page 16, Frank’s words and David’s pictures document the historic, incredible place that is High Rock Canyon. The food section, all of it, tells tales of our truly underappreciated food and cocktail scene.
I could go on and on, but you get the point.
Our place is in Midtown, tucked between Arlington Avenue and Plumas Street, a little north of Mount Rose Street, and I’m always amazed at how many amazing things—restaurants, bars, parks, shops, you name it—are within walking distance.
Of course, Reno is far from perfect. After living in the deserts of the Southwest for two decades, I adore Reno’s summers, but as for Reno’s winters … no thanks. (Snow is beautiful. Driving in it is decidedly not.) The traffic here can be stunningly awful; I adamantly refuse to take either freeway within three miles of the Spaghetti Bowl most times of the day. Some of the politics are, shall we say, fraught. And I don’t know if I’d ever be able to afford a house in Northwestern Nevada, due to the housing crunch.
But here’s the thing: No place is perfect. I absolutely adore Palm Springs, my other home, but there’s a reason you’ll find me in Reno rather than the Coachella Valley for many weeks during the summer—and the housing prices in Palm Springs make Reno’s prices a relative bargain.
I’ll be forever grateful to the RN&R for bringing me back to my hometown, and allowing me to fall in love with it—completing a process that started as I looked down on Reno from the top floor of the Sands Regency about a decade ago.